The fifth busiest Emergency Department in Kentucky and the state-of-the-art Intensive Care and Coronary Care Units, Hardin Memorial Hospital provides around the clock quality professional emergency and intensive care.
Serving over 60,000 people annually from 10 surrounding counties, the Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Emergency Department team is made up of highly skilled nurses and physicians, many of whom have worked in major trauma centers. All HMH Emergency Department physicians are board certified, many with long tenure from academic centers.
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We understand that visiting an Emergency Department isn’t an enjoyable experience. But we believe that we can make your experience a better one by explaining certain things about how the ED operates and what you can expect to happen while you are here.
Whether you arrive by ambulance or private vehicle, a highly trained nurse will determine the severity of your illness or injury and assess you as quickly as possible. Patients with more serious problems are seen first. Unlike a doctor’s office, the ED does not accept appointments. Instead, ill or injured patients often arrive at the same time, causing a wait for those with less serious conditions.
What to Bring to the Emergency Department?
- Identification (Driver's License, Military ID, etc.)
- Insurance Cards
- Full list of medications
- Co-payments if required by insurance
- Parental consent for children under 18
When you first come to the ED, you’ll receive a “triage assessment.” A nurse will ask you the reason for your visit and take down important information about your medical history, including information allergies. The nurse will also measure your vital signs. The nurse will take your temperature, pulse, blood pressure. For small children and infants, a rectal temperature is taken for the most accurate information. The purpose of this triage assessment is to make an initial determination about the nature and severity of your illness or injury. The triage assessment determines the order in which you will receive a medical screening examination.
If a bed is immediately available, you will be registered at the bedside. If a bed is not immediately available, you will be asked to take a seat in the waiting room until one becomes available. The registration process will be completed in the registration area. If you begin to feel worse, please notify the triage nurse or registrars right away. Please do not eat or drink anything while you are waiting.
Patients are allowed two (2) visitors. The ED greeter or registrars will issue a “visitor” name badge to be worn while visiting in the ED. You may choose which members stay with you. The ED staff is available to assist with information and updates to family members. At registration you received a personal identification number to protect your privacy while visiting the ED. If you choose, you can give this number to family members waiting in the lobby so that they can track your progress on the patient tracker TV screen.
A Bed is Available For You
You may be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown (the gown ties in the back) so that the doctor may do an exam. You may be attached to a monitoring device so that we may continually monitor your vital signs from the nurse station. These devices are very sensitive and may sound an alarm when you move. Periodically, your nurse and physician will visit you, but in the meantime our technology is providing us with ongoing information about your progress.
The ED Medical Care Team Examines You
ED physicians, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and technical staff are highly skilled professionals; one will examine you as soon as possible after you are placed in a bed. However, they may be delayed if more critical patients arrive unexpectedly. Your physicians or physician’s assistant will order tests / procedures, x-rays, etc. that he / she feels necessary. Some tests require blood to be drawn, while others may require you to go to another department. A technician will take you if you must leave the ED. Obtaining results of tests / procedures may take time. If at any time, you do not understand a specific procedure, please ask your physician or nurse.
Why You Are Waiting
Our goal is to see patients as soon as possible, but patients who require intensive care or who are critically ill or injured are always treated first. Unfortunately, that means that when the ED is busy, patients may have to wait to see members of the medical care team. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
These are some common reasons for delays:
- Your ED medical care team may need time to become familiar with your medical history.
- Your ED medical care team may be trying to get in touch with your family physician.
- Your ED medical care team may be waiting for the results of blood tests, x-rays, or specialized procedures.
Your Medical Care Team Explains Your Test Results and Treatment
As soon as your lab work or imaging results are available, your medical care team will explain the findings. Occasionally, an additional test may be necessary. Depending on your particular condition, your treatment may be simple or complex. The treatment, which may be carried out by the physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner or nurse, may consist of splints, bandages, IV’s, or medications. It may take a few minutes or several hours depending on your illness or injury and the presence of other critical patients.
You Are Admitted to the Hospital or Discharged Home
Your ED medical care team may speak with your family doctor or other specialist about your treatment. Sometimes calls to other doctors cause delay, especially if they are unable to answer our calls immediately. It’s your family or primary care physician who will determine if you are to be admitted to the hospital. If you are admitted to the hospital and it is full, you may have to wait in the ED for another patient to be discharged. As soon as a room is prepared, we will take you to your room. If you are discharged home, the nurse will provide you with a copy of your discharge instructions and any prescriptions the physician or physician’s assistant has written for you. The nurse will explain your instructions and prescriptions and answer any questions about your care or treatment. You are responsible for your own care after you leave the ED.
Bills You May Receive
The statement or bill you receive from HMH will include your hospital costs, such as equipment, supplies, nursing service, and other support personnel, etc. Physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners providing treatment in the ED are not agents or employees of Hardin Memorial Hospital, but are independent contractors. These professional fees are separate and apart from the fees charged by the hospital for the use of its facilities. Depending on the services you receive, you may also receive bills from a radiologist, pathologist, ambulance service, or other professional fees. If at any time you have a billing question, please call (270) 706-1565 to speak to a Customer Service Representative.
Leaving Without Being Seen
If you have been waiting a long time, you may feel tempted to leave the ED before you receive a medical screening examination by a physician or physician’s assistant. You have the legal right to do this, but we strongly discourage it. Leaving the ED without being screened is a serious, perhaps
life-threatening, decision and should not be made out of frustration.
You need to consider the following:
- Getting the examination may save your life. Not getting it may endanger your life.
- Getting the examination may prevent your condition from worsening. Not getting it may cause your condition to worsen.
- Going to another facility will likely delay, not speed up, the examination, even if you go directly there. The wait at another facility may be just as long, if not longer.
- Traveling home or to another facility could cause your condition to worsen.
Important Phone Numbers
For more information on HMH's Emergency Department, call (270) 706-1642.
- Jeremy McClain, Director, Emergency Services (270) 706-5644
- HMH Physician Referral Services (270) 706-1740
- AIDS (hotline) (800) CDC-INFO
- Poison Control (hotline) (800) 222-1222
- Abuse (hotline) (800) 752-6200
- Youth Crisis (hotline) (800) HIT-HOME
Parental Consent Brochure